Sustainable Pittsburgh Tuesday announced it has invited Royal Dutch Shell to collaborate on an independent sustainability assessment of the company’s $6 billion petrochemical plant to be built in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, located in the Pittsburgh region.
According to a new study released by Gov. Wolf’s office and the Team Pennsylvania Foundation last week, up to four more ethane crackers could be built in Pennsylvania.
As such, Sustainable Pittsburgh sees a pivotal opportunity and need for Royal Dutch Shell to raise the global standards for the design, construction, and operation of its ethane cracker given the enormous consequences for the region stemming from this industrial complex and those to follow.
When Royal Dutch Shell, one of the largest corporations in the world and a global leader in sustainability, with a state and local subsidy of $1.65 billion in tax forgiveness for the Beaver County plant over, sets up shop in the region (Potter Township pop. 548), the high stakes call for game-changing outcomes, according to Sustainable Pittsburgh.
Missing is a comprehensive assessment, Sustainable Pittsburgh says, that goes beyond compliance to assess, measure, and commit to combined regional social, economic, and environmental gains; that is, long-term sustainable development.
Consequently, Sustainable Pittsburgh has invited Royal Dutch Shell’s collaboration in conducting an independent sustainability assessment, led by an empaneled group of multidisciplinary experts, of its ethane cracker complex.
Sustainable Pittsburgh urges that a thorough assessment of the return on public investment accounting for the range of externalities per social, economic, and environmental impacts of the ethane cracker should include commitment to use of cutting-edge innovations for beyond-compliance performance to mitigate negative impacts associated with not just air quality, but that of water, housing, public health, social systems, ecosystems, transportation, property values, and other local and regional issues.
The group has also specifically calling for Shell to generate or purchase renewable electricity to power the plant, produce zero waste and emissions, commit to buying local, and embrace “circular approaches to plastics reuse.”
Sustainable Pittsburgh is a nonprofit group that tries to affect decision-making in the Pittsburgh region to integrate economic prosperity, social equity, and environmental quality as the enduring accountability, bringing sustainable solutions for communities and businesses.
The group’s board is made up of representatives of the City of Pittsburgh, business, academic, local government and nonprofit groups.
Shell on Tuesday said that the local representatives agreed to meet with Sustainable Pittsburgh but that the nonprofit declined the invitation.
“After receiving the assessment request, Shell offered to meet with the organization face to face to share some of the innovative project features and determine if we could achieve some common ground based on the advance stages of design,” Shell spokesman Ray Fisher said. “Unfortunately, Sustainable Pittsburgh declined, instead insisting on a meeting with Shell global leaders.”
In addition, Shell said that Sustainable Pittsburgh is requesting a review and assessment of “many design features (of the plant) which have already been completed and permitted.”
Shell said it has conducted “multiple public engagements” in and around Beaver County since 2014, “giving the public an opportunity to comment and dialogue on the project.”
The ethane plant is being developed by Shell Chemical Appalachia.
NewsClips:Group Calls On Shell To Participate In Sustainability Study For Cracker Plant